Family farm holidays in Cornwall magical for children, toddlers and babies.
Coombe Mill Blog
"Tales from the farmers wife" shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.
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There are a few signs for me that spring is really with us. First are the snowdrops and daffodils, then the lengthening days and warmth in the midday sun. Finally the big one here is the birth of our first spring lamb. This year it is Ebony, who I saved from the pot last year, and now leads the way.
A lucky escape for Ebony
Ebony was herself hand raised having been abandoned by her mother. She has proved to be a gentle and friendly sheep with our guests, but a dubious mother herself. Last year she had twins and rejected one who we raised. Lambo became the star of the farm in spring 2018 but no thanks to Ebony. Farmer Nick was all for calling time on Ebony after twice abandoning her lambs, however I saved her for one more year and now I know I made the right decision. Ebony has taken to her new son perfectly.
Born in the wild
Farmer Nick was feeding the sheep with our guests as the last stop on the morning feed run when he noticed we were one sheep missing. As there was no bleating to indicate being stuck up in the brambles we knew there was a good chance the missing sheep was in labour or just given birth. A scour of the field confirmed our suspicions as Ebony sat nursing her new born up in the trees. We followed Farmer Nick up the field as he collected the lamb to bring him down and perform the necessary checks with Ebony following close behind.
Correctly handling a lamb
It may look mean to be suspending the lamb by its legs, but this is actually the safest way, cuddling them to your body may feel instinctive to us but actually risks damaging the new born organs.
Down at the trailer the guests could admire mother and baby while Farmer Nick searched for his new born kit.
Why tail docking is recommended
In no time the tail is docked with a band below the nerve. This will just fall off in the coming weeks and is pain free. It isn’t essential, but helps prevent muck and poo that inevitably builds up when the full tail is left risking infection. Iodine on the umbilical cord is also to prevent infection and help the cord dry safely.
A move to the nursery.
We have a special field for our new born spring lambs which is more fox proof. Ebony and her lamb rode in the trailer with me to get there. The rest of the flock looked on with interest as we left them at the cattle grid.
Spray marking explained
Before we let mother and baby into their new field Farmer Nick gave them a quick spray. It is hard to see on Ebony as she is so dark, but the 11 means she is the first lamb to give birth to one lamb.
Waiting for more spring lambs
While Ebony and her new spring lamb enjoy the nursery to themselves, hopefully it won’t be long before another comes to join them. Watching the lambs make friends and skip around together is a real joy.
No wonder spring is such a happy and positive time to be on the farm. We’d love you to come and see them too. Do check out our latest availability this spring.
Mindfulness is becoming a popular topic to uncover with people in all walks of life. As adults it can take some getting our heads around, so how much harder must it be for children? We have been enjoying a thought provoking tale tackling mindfulness for children in relatable language and concepts. “Your Mind is like the Sky” takes children on a journey to explain everyday feelings about the challenges we all face and how to deal with them. This book is a must for any youngster prone to worrying about difficult thoughts and feelings. Read on to discover more and for your chance to win a copy.
A first book of mindfulness.
Your mind is like the sky takes a look at the fears that can pop into a child’s mind and likens them to the sky. Sometimes our mind can be clear and blue, but other times raincloud thoughts come along. The book gives some helpful ways to deal with the rainclouds encouraging children to discover their inner power through this easy light read. There is even some helpful advice for parents at the back of the book.
We were sent our copy of ‘Your Mind is like the Sky’ a first book of mindfulness for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. A copy of our book can be found in the book case in the Coombe Mill Games room for children to enjoy here on holiday.
Welcome to my monthly news highlights from February 19 at Coombe Mill holidays together with a guide for what’s on in Cornwall for March 19. A handy guide to plan your time here if you are visiting this month.
Spring on the back of the snow
What a crazy month February turned out to be. We started the month on the national news when so much snow fell in the space of 2 hours during the school run. Everyone was caught out. Thankfully it was a happy ending and a great snow day off that followed.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and our half term guests were treated to spring with temperatures of 15 degrees. The farm literally blossomed and you could have been mistaken for thinking it was Easter.
Willow and honeysuckle cottages.
Last month I shared the kitchen and living room updates on Willow and Honeysuckle cottages. I’m now thrilled to say the new carpets are all in up the stairs, landing and bedrooms together with a few curtain and lampshade changes to lift these two spacious cottages for the 2019 season.
Inspired for business growth
I attended the annual Small Business Conference in Birmingham run by Theo Paphitis (ex Dragon’s Den star) as an #sbs winner. It is something I attend every year to network with other business owners, catch up with friends made over the years and be inspired for good business practice from Theo and his inspiring guest speakers. As always I came away buzzing with an action plan which will hopefully benefit all our holiday guests. Watch this space.
On the Farm
The end of February is a happy time for the animals, spring is in the air and the harsher days of winter are hopefully behind them.
Survival is easy for the chickens as they have been enjoying life indoors in their luxury winter home. On the back of this we have had record egg collections with up to 10 a day. I’m sure this rivals our best summer days!
R.I.P. Floppsy and Bruce
Sadly not everyone fared so well. We lost both Bruce the Wallaby and Floppsy the rabbit during February. They were both such great characters we will miss them both. Farmer Nick has his fingers in many pies trying to see if we can find anything to replace them.
Born into the snow
In happier news the guinea pigs are thriving. So much so we had two sets of babies on the same night born just as the snow arrived. We rigged up a heat lamp during the cold spell to keep them warm and they are now all thriving.
What’s On in Cornwall March 2019
If you are coming to see us this month I have a few recommendations of places and special activities you may like to visit with the family.
I am thrilled to bring to you a wonderful new game for 2019 from Orchard Toys, the masters of making learning fun. Magic Spelling combines wizardry with learning spellings in a fast paced, quick thinking game. It is aimed at age 5 – 7 years; we think it can happily extend beyond this. If you have a child who finds spellings a chore then this is the game for them. Read on to discover more and for your chance to win.
How to Play Magic Spelling
It’s a race against time to spell your word before the timer runs out, but this isn’t enough to make it fun so Orchard toys have added spell books to fill with gruesome ingredients and a magic wand to search for your letters. Beat the timer and you get to rub your card to reveal if your spelling was correct. Your reward is a yucky ingredient for your spell book.
What we love
There are two colours of cards so younger children can just choose easier spelling and older children harder spellings.
Searching for the letters against the timer with a wand is a great way to build fun and excitement into what could be a dull task of learning spellings.
Easy to adapt the basic rules to suit your child.
We found the longer words hard to find in time, but just allowed a turn of the timer for longer words.
You could even extend the game by making your own cards with new words once the pack provided were learned.
We all know fire is dangerous, deserves respect and care, especially when children are near. However with the fear and danger comes fun and excitement. Here on the farm, we have an annual tradition on the back of our Christmas Fun, of saving all the wrapping paper for a big bonfire party. It isn’t a big activity, never the less our supervised bonfire event is one kids look forward to.
A Trailer full of Christmas Debris
All day Christmas Day and Boxing Day Farmer Nick leaves an open trailer out in the car park with a big sign inviting guests to leave their Christmas wrapping, from paper to party hats. This has the dual advantage of not overflowing our bins whilst simultaneously preparing for a fun supervised bonfire event for the kids.
Safety is Key
Over the years Farmer Nick has created some great firework events for us at both at New Year and Bonfire night. Safety is key; especially with excitable risk taking children around. For this reason, even our Christmas big burn is a supervised bonfire event. It is all carefully set up by Farmer Nick in advance, with a few clear rules:
Only Farmer Nick starts the fire.
The fire site location is away from the farm and properties, just off the farm track.
The wind needs to be heading away from the path where people stand.
Wind strength needs to be moderate, not still or too strong.
Children are supervised by an adult at all times, as well as having Farmer Nick present.
Wrapping paper needs to be thrown from a safe distance to the fire.
Large windfall branches form the base of the bonfire. This gives substance and structure for the wrapping paper to be added.
Any near misses must be corrected by adults only.
Let the Fun Begin
Mindful of safety throughout, Farmer Nick invites the guests to join him. They can watch, or take part in, burning the collected waste wrapping paper.
Carrying cardboard from trailer towards the fire.
Watching the fire with younger children.
Throwing onto the fire from a safe distance.
Watching the fire die down to a safe level.
It is such a simple event, yet on a cold winter’s evening provides welcome warmth to the late afternoon fading light. The joy on the faces of the children joining in is clear to see. This is certainly a part of the Christmas break they will remember. As I watched the children this year I couldn’t help but remember the fun my own children would have at this event poking at the embers with a big stick long after the flames had died down.
Join our Supervised Bonfire event in 2019
Weather permitting, we will be doing it all again this year, just a part of our Christmas program here on the farm. We’d love you to come and join us.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.